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Found 6 results

  1. Last Chance Safaris has a couple of spaces left for a safari spectacular in July/August 2018. The itinerary includes 6 nights in two 2 separate 'migration camps' in the northern Serengeti to coincide with the dramatic Mara River crossings; 3 nights at Murchison Falls NP, and 3 nights in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with 2 gorilla treks. Click on the brochure for more info on this incredible expedition. Should you be interested, please contact Grant via reservations@lastchancesafaris.earth or grant@lastchancesafaris.earth
  2. I guess we all collect something. Some people collect stamps; some collect albums; some collect antiques. I have recently come to grips with the fact that I am a collector of antelope photographs. Strange? Not really. Hundreds of “Great White Hunters” collected actual antelope specimens in Africa with their rifles, and modern day trophy hunters continue to do so. Luckily, with today’s photographic technology, I am able to collect my specimens guilt-free, without killing. My personal mission to “collect” all sub-Saharan antelope species, subspecies and even races kicked into new gear in Uganda and Ethiopia. On the wish list were Uganda kob, Jackson’s hartebeest, Swayne’s hartebeest, mountain nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck, Salt’s dik-dik and Soemmering’s gazelle. There would be loads of fringe benefits along the way: the spectacular Murchison Falls with shoebills taking shelter downstream in the Nile Delta; a number of rare endemics in the Bale Mountains, including the Ethiopian wolf; and the endemic hamadrayas baboon and the gorgeous grasslands of Awash National Park. The Uganda portion was guided by a local guide, Morris Musungu, from the Uganda Safari Company; and the Ethiopia portion was guided by Dom Lever (a professional photographer to boot; who usually conducts safaris in Tanzania but is one of the very few Ethiopia experts around), with Fikir Mekonen as the driver/guide from an excellent ground operator named Travel Ethiopia. Itinerary: Protea Hotel, Kampala, Uganda – 1 night Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda – 3 nights Addis Regency Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 1 night Lewi Resort, Awasa, Ethiopia (near the Senkelle Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary) – 1 night Private Campsite, Dinsho, Bale Mountain National Park, Ethiopia – 2 nights Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Goba, near Bale Mountain National Park, Ethiopia – 2 nights Private Campsite, Awash National Park, Ethiopia – 3 nights Murchison Falls You just can’t believe the drive from Kampala to Murchison Falls. Much like yesterday’s drive from Entebbe to Kampala, all you see is a sea of humanity. There are hives of activity along the main roads filled with ramshackle shops, restaurants and houses. What could all these people possibly be doing? It’s not unlike other African cities such as Nairobi or Arusha except this city keeps going (it is unclear where it ends) – and except that it is clean. Ugandans take pride in rubbish-free streets. About half way through the 5-hour journey to Murchison, finally some open space becomes visible – a state-owned pine tree plantation and then the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary adjacent to the main road. After a quick lunch stop in Masindi, tar gives way to murram, and a sense of adventure sets it. A thickly canopied Mudongo Forest must first be negotiated upon entering Murchison Falls National Park from the south. There are chimpanzees in the Mudongo, but the baboon is the only conspicuous species along the road. After the forest thins out, we cross the Victoria Nile in a ferry in order to access the game-rich northern plains of Murchison. Paraa Safari Lodge is perched atop a hill overlooking the ferry station on the northern side of the Victoria Nile. It is essentially a bygone era hotel originally designed for mass appeal – quite usable but without any wild, adventurous feel. Two huge missionary groups would be based at Paraa during my stay, each using buses (not the mini kind) for game drives (one of the buses a large pink-colored one with the words “God is good” painted on the back in a psychedelic ‘60s font). Curiously, the staff village is situated several hundred yards below the lodge near the ferry station, and the lodge staff wander between the lodge and the village at all times. Of course, dangerous animals such as hippos wander between at all times as well. If you Google search for “Murchison + hippo charge”, you will get an idea of what this several hundred yard stretch is all about. Apparently, the man survived with just an injured arm. There are basically three areas of interest at Murchison: the plains north of the Victoria Nile (the plains essentially divided into three tracks called Buligi, Pakuba and Queen’s); a boat ride upstream on the Victoria Nile to the Murchison Falls; and a boat ride downstream to the Nile Delta which bleeds into Lake Albert. The northern plains are interspersed with whistling thorn and Acacia sieberiana and in the far north transition into a Borassus palm forest. A few elephant families, small herds of buffalos and small journeys of Rothschild’s giraffes dot the plains, but they are overwhelmed by the abundance of Uganda kobs, Jackson’s hartebeests and oribis. These three species are so prolific it’s hard to describe in words. Aside from Masai Mara during the wildebeest migration season, Murchison may hold the densest herbivore population I have witnessed. Oribis are so abundant, the “normally found in monogamous pairs” thing is out the window. Jackson’s hartebeests are in hundreds and hundreds but not in any big groups and never in tightly bunched formations. The Uganda kob is a more elegant version of its closest relative, the puku. Interesting that the kob in local dialect is “nchila”, the same name used to describe puku in western Zambia. Easy to dismiss because they are so ubiquitous, the kob nevertheless exhibits a fascinating social system called lekking. Males gather in a particular spot to spar, attracting the transient females to the spectacle. Females then allow the victor/victors to mate. A definitive lek is in full progress near the Pakuba airstrip: males fighting; females wandering about observing the contests; and two or three males being allowed to mate. Fighting, mating and whistling (the kob’s distinctive call) pervade the entire arena. Shall this chaotic scene be dubbed, dare I say, “porn on the kob”? Oribi Jackson's hartebeest Uganda kob Uganda kob males fighting Uganda kob male with females "Porn on the kob" Borassus palm forest Rothschild's giraffe and Borassus palm
  3. Anyone who receives the Ol Pejeta newsletter will already be aware of this fundraiser but for those that don't I thought as this doesn’t seem to have come up yet that I should post something and this seemed to be the most appropriate forum although I’m not an NGO. As I’m sure many here will already be aware the northern white rhino Ceratotherium simum cottoni now has a population of just 4 known animals all of these animals are it now seems incapable of breeding naturally and the chances of any unknown animals surviving in the wild is next to nonexistent. Female Nabiré, one of the last five northern white rhinos, died This means that this subspecies or even full species as some scientists have suggested that once roamed across Central Africa in the thousands is now effectively extinct. Doomed by the insatiable demand for rhino horn to make dagger handles in the Yemen and traditional medicines in the Far East combined with the seemingly endless wars that have plagued this region of Africa and that made it ultimately impossible to save these animals. However although it may seem like the fight to save these animals is lost the custodians of 3 of the last surviving animals Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic which owns them and Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya that looks after them have not given up. Together they have a plan to roll the dice one more time to try before it’s too late to resurrect these animals to use the science of IVF and embryo transfer to as it were make new northern white rhinos. In order to raise this substantial sum of money they have set up Go Fund Me page if anyone wishes to contribute and help try to bring these otherwise doomed animals back to life here is the link. Make a Rhino, Save a Species If they do succeed in creating new northern white calves one has too hope that in the future there will be safe places in the wilds of Central Africa to send them to, places like Zakouma NP perhaps, I am not sure when they died out but these rhinos certainly occured in southern Chad not so long ago, to see them grazing on the plains at Rigueik amongst the tiang and the black crowned cranes would be quite something. Another potential home could be Murchison Falls NP in Uganda just outside their natural range a park that was once home to an introduced population provided the UWA don’t decide they can't wait for some northern whites and introduce southerns to the park instead as there is already a small population of southerns at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda. Since the captive population of northern whites was always small and those captured in the wild all came from the same area in South Sudan I don’t know if they can really hope to create a genetically viable herd or whether they will still have to try and hybridise the animals but even preserving northern white genes in hybrid animals is better than nothing. If they succeed then everything they learn about IVF and embryo transfer in white rhinos could well be used to help save other critically endangered rhino species and be applied to other endangered animals as well.
  4. ULTIMAE PRIMATE SAFARI - 10DAYS/9NIGHTS Safari Highlights: Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park Nature walk in Bigodi Swamp Game drive in Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks Boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park Crater Lakes Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest Boat ride in Lake Mburo National Park Photo session at the Equator Day 1: Arrival and pickup Your will be picked from the airport by a representative of Kagera Safaris Meal Plan - Dinner (Depending on time of arrival) Day 2: Transfer to Kibale National Park After breakfast we leave for Kibale National Park having lunch en-route. Meal time – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 3: Chimpanzee Tracking We leave for an early morning Chimpanzee tracking in the primate capital of East Africa – Kibale National Park. Enjoy the hike in the tropical forest in search of man’s closest relatives the Chimpanzees in their natural home. After lunch, take a Swamp walk in Bigodi community – proceeds from this helps in community development. Look out for other primates like the red tailed monkey, mangabey, black & white colobus monkey, Baboons etc. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 4: Queen Elizabeth National Park Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park after breakfast, have lunch en-route and a relaxed afternoon Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 5: Game drive and Boat Safari Game drive in the morning in search of Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs etc. and a launch cruise on Kazinga Channel – a stretch of water connecting Lake George and Lake Albert where you will watch animals that come for water . Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 6: Transfer to Ishasha After breakfast we transfer to Ishasha sector in search of the famous tree climbing lions. This is the main attraction but there other attractions. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 7: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park We leave for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – the home of half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The drive to Bwindi takes you through communities, homesteads, agricultural lands with beautiful scenery. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day8: Gorilla tracking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi Wake up early in preparation for an amazing day tracking the mountain gorillas. These gigantic creatures will keep you clued for hours and as you search and later enjoy their company. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 9: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park We arrive in time for the boat safari on Lake Mburo after which we do an evening game drive before retiring to the lodge for the night. Day 10: End of Safari – Transfer to Kampala/Entebbe High End Lodge USD 5217 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 2 persons USD 4521 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 4 persons USD 4132 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 6 persons Mid-Range Lodge USD 3894 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 2 persons USD 3198 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 4 persons USD 2966 pp (double/twin sharing) based on private group of 6 persons Included in the Price Gorilla Tracking Permit Chimpanzee Tracking Permit per person Ground transport per 4WD minibus custom made for safari Bottled water in the safari vehicle Full board accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary Park entrance fees Game drive Boat trip Service of an English speaking driver guide Driver allowances and park fees for vehicle and driver All mentioned activities except for the optional ones Excluded: Extras at the accommodation i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc. Tips to porters and driver/ guide International flights Visas to Uganda Insurance Availability of accommodation, permits and activities is not guaranteed until confirmation. Terms and Conditions – http://www.kagerasafaris.com/index.php/terms-and-conditions
  5. Introduction One of the things that more often happens to me on safari (in particularduring less intense times, such as at meals) is…discussing other possible safaris. Last year, in the heat of the middle hours in our mobile camp in Mana Pools, whilst we were reversed on our chairs looking at the Zambezi, the issue of going to see the Mountain Gorilla was often brought up. I confess: I have never been the biggest primate fanatic, and, whilst I enjoyed chimp tracking in the Mahale Mountains in western Tanzania, I never felt the urge to repeat it or the burning desire of a meeting with the largest African apes. However, our friend and guide Squack Evans showed us so many breathtaking pictures of Mountain Gorillas taken in Rwanda in the course of several treks, that we (my dad in particular) felt compelled to plan to have a shot at them. The original plan was to go to Rwanda, combining a it with a visit to some remote corners of northern Tanzania (yes, there are still some). Then the plan changed, and northern Kenya was brought in in lieu of Tanzania. “And why not Bwindi in Uganda?” “Well, it is tougher going than Rwanda” “The surroundings are wilder though”. My father had a strong desire of seeing places new to him, and suggested that, instead of combining the Gorillas with Kenya or Tanzania, we could spend the entire safari in Uganda. And thus, almost by accident, plans for a Uganda safari were afoot. As much as Gorillas has never been my goal, Uganda never featured prominently as a coveted safari destination for me. Only one destination really attracted me and has been luring me for years: Kidepo National Park in the remote northeast, close to the Kenya and Sudan border. However, August/September, the time of the year we were travelling, was the worst possible period for going to Kidepo, and hiring a private charter just to find ourselves amidst tall grass and swirling rainy clouds would not have been the smartest of move. So we settled for exploring the more accessible western part of the country, along the Albertine Rift. Easier said than done, and the planning of this trip has been the most convoluted of all my 23 safaris so far. I had doubts about almost everything – the lack of accommodation choices (I tried hard to find a reliable operator who could provide good mobile camps, but to no avail – I only found an option in Murchison Falls, but the cost for our small party was incredibly steep), the roads, the planes, the quality of the drivers, the quality of the game viewing…you name it. And then after all I am a dry country person, what do I do in all that greenery? Eventually, we ended up with an itinerary, which was the following: August: 30 o/n Entebbe August 31 - September 3: Murchison Falls National Park (4 nights) September 4: Kasenda Crater Lakes September 5- September 7: Toro – Semliki Wildlife Reserve (3 nights) September 8 - September 10: Queen Elizabeth National Park (3 nights) September 11 - September 12 : Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (2 nights) September 13: Mabamba Swamp near Lake Victoria and departure We would have flown the first leg of the journey (from Entebbe to Murhison Falls) and the last (from Bwindi to Kajjansi Airstrip near Lake Victoria). For the rest, it would have been a road trip. Our ground handler in Uganda was Classic Africa Safaris (bizarrely, the same name of the company we had just used in Zimbabwe) and I have to say that they delivered an absolutely immaculate service, without a single glitch (not a very common situation in Uganda, I had been told). Our vehicle turned out to be of a high specification (certainly better of the other vehicles we encountered in the trip) and the local guide/driver assigned to us, Edward Kabagyo, very good and really knowledgeable. So, after having overcome all my reservations, I found myself eating chicken curry late at night at the Protea Hotel in Entebbe. It was not bad. The next morning we (myself, my father and Squack) commuted back to the airport, in order to take our flight to Murchison Falls. As always on safari, the sense of anticipation was high, and I thought to myself. “OK, let’s see what this ‘Pearl of Africa’ is all about”.
  6. Uganda is often called the "Pearl of Africa" for good reason. It is simply spectacular! I've traveled there numerous times in the past but this time I was able to bring my family. We trekked the Rwenzori Mountains, wildlife-watched in Murchison Falls, QE and Kibale Forest National Parks. Amazing trip with over 32 species of mammals and some amazing birds. Take a look at our trip report below. Cheers, Coke Smith www.cokesmithphototravel.com Here is our Uganda Trip Report http://www.cokesmithphototravel.com/Uganda_Wildlife_Expedition.html

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